Tuesday, Nov. 9
This is going to be a two-part post.
A before and an after.
I want to puke.
Matt doesn’t know what he feels. But I’m thinking he probably wants to puke too.
Before and after what you ask?
Well if the title hasn’t given it away, Matt and I just paid 380 CHF each to skydive over the Alps in Interlaken, Switzerland. (The Swiss currency is basically par to the Canadian dollar.)
We woke up early, ready to venture around the town on our first day in Switzerland, dressed in our warm clothes.
Before leaving, we made the mistake of asking the guy working the front desk if we could book skydiving for later in the week.
“No – you need to do it today!”
I don’t think so, Mr. Cool-hipster-London-dude.
So he showed us the week’s weather forecast, which is predicting a chance of rain. And if there’s rain, the jumps are cancelled.
Feeling incredibly lame for wanting to just walk around, we decided to go for a hike instead and skydive on Saturday.
But as we were eating our greasy bacon and eggs, the big, beautiful sun came out.
“Should we do it?”
“Yup – let’s stop being pansies.”
So we booked it.
“Don’t worry – skydiving is the safest thing you can do,” said the dude at the desk. “Just don’t read the fine print and sign here.”
So, now Matt and I have two hours to kill before we jump.
As I’m writing this, Matt’s playing a video game on his ipod.
I’m pacing our metre-by-metre room, doing the pee-pee dance and shoving as much chocolate into my mouth as humanly possible.
My stomach ache from 10 minutes ago has morphed into a headache.
Matt is scarily calm.
He keeps saying, “It’s awesome that we’re doing this today.”
So – the “after” portion of this post will come in a few hours.
After we’ve taken our 12 to 15 minute scenic flight over Interlaken’s two lakes and through the Swiss Alps.
After our 50-second free-fall at 200 km/h.
And after our seven-minute canopy ride.
What a rush.
We made it in one piece, unharmed.
I think the two hours leading up to the jump were more nerve-wracking than anything else.
The 20 minute drive to the jump site and the process of suiting up wasn’t that bad.
We were so focused on our instructions on what to do in the air, it was hard to be nervous.
But as soon as the first group started falling from the sky, we had all forgotten the routine.
The four of us quickly ran through our moves.
“Kick your legs behind you, arch your back and neck, and keep your arms in.”
“On the first tap, move your arms out like field goal posts and look down.”
“Second tap, pull your arms back in.”
“Final tap, grab your pants and pull your legs up for the landing.”
OK, easy enough.
“Arms in, arms out, arms in, arms down.”
I said it over and over.
As soon as the first group landed, we piled into our tiny plane, sitting in the lap of our tandem instructors.
We spent 15 minutes in the cramped aircraft, gawking at the mountain tops, pointing at the turquoise rivers and taking in the bright green fields, dotted with orange roof tops.
The four of us were taking pictures, laughing, and talking about silly things – like why the heck were we jumping out of a plane?
And then it was go time. Everyone on the plane exchanged fist bumps.
Then the first guy swung his legs over and he was gone.
The second guy lined up, and in an instant, he was gone.
Matt shuffled into position and I squeaked, “I love you.”
As quickly as he said it back, he was gone.
Then it was my turn.
I don’t know how we got to the edge. My feet were dangling out the tiny door, and all I could see was a blur of white and green.
The guy shouted in my ear, “Head back.”
So I jerked it back.
And we were off.
Waaaaap. I had all the air in my lungs smacked out of me as we rolled out of the plane.
My arms were flailing like I was doing the Elaine dance and head was moving around like a collector edition bobble-head.
I could barely make the difference between the Alps and the bottom of the plane.
I thought it was going to be like in the movies, when they jump out face down and just lie on their bellies until they land.
We did summersaults, flips and all sorts of tricks.
Between my instructor moving my arms for me, and giving me the thumbs up, we jolted out of the freefall, transitioning into the canopy ride.
That was just as peaceful. We dipped and circled – and even dodged as Matt came speeding towards us.
My attempt at taking pictures was pitiful.
I took a video that looks like I was in an earthquake.
Suddenly, we were near the ground.
The instructor yelled, “Lift up your legs.”
So I did.
“Do you want to land in the river?”
“Well then pull them up higher.”
Seconds later we were skidding on our bums across the grass.
My eyes were watering and my hands and legs were shaking.
Matt was the same, as were the two other guys.
Our adrenaline rush lasted for about 15 minutes. Just enough time for the instructors to pack their parachutes and hop back in the van.
Just like that – 380 Swiss Francs out the door. Literally.
But it was well worth it.
We came back to our hostel and stuffed ourselves with soup, (gluten-free) bread, oranges and water.
We felt nauseous, hungry and tired.
But we also felt proud, excited and happy.
We couldn’t have imagined a better first impression. Thanks Switzerland.